The Cinematography Podcast Episode 85: Greig Fraser

World-renowned director of photography Greig Fraser grew up in Australia, working as a still photographer before he moved into cinematography, shooting shorts, TV shows and films for several Australian directors. Greig’s most recently completed project is The Mandalorian, which recently earned him an Emmy nomination. At first, Greig felt incredibly nervous about working on the frontline development for The Mandalorian because of the massive amount of technology involved. His usual approach as a DP has been naturalistic lighting, in a real setting, rather than an entirely manufactured environment on a soundstage. The Mandalorian brought together gaming technology and set design, which could only be done with the support of ILM and Lucasfilm. The Star Wars series used 3D digital environments built with Epic Games’ Unreal Engine gaming technology that was capable of interacting with the cameras and was projected on huge LED screens for very realistic backgrounds on the soundstage. Greig was not a Star Wars newbie- prior to The Mandalorian, he was the cinematographer of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. As a fan of Star Wars, Greig felt some trepidation at first about shooting Rogue One, because he was worried about losing that passion in the day-to-day while on set. Greig met with Rogue One director Gareth Edwards and loved his early film Monsters, so he was convinced to take the job. Grieg also discusses his work on the 2016 film, Lion, for which he received an Oscar nomination for Best Cinematography. Greig was extremely excited to shoot Lion– he and fellow Australian director Garth Davis had worked together a number of times. As a photographer, Greig had traveled and shot in India, and he loved being able to return to India and Melbourne to shoot such a great story. For Lion, Greig and Garth Davis wanted to be very respectful of Indian culture, and be careful of their choices not to oversensationalize images of poverty. Greig shot many of the railway scenes in the film at the level of a small child to capture the character Saroo’s feelings of loss and helplessness.

Grieg Fraser is the cinematographer of two hugely anticipated films coming soon: Dune with director Denis Villeneuve and The Batman, directed by Matt Reeves.

Find Greig Fraser

Instagram: @greigfraser_dp

Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras

Aputure: The Aputure Light Storm LS C120D II is a professional Bowens mount LED light that only takes up 120 watts and can be powered by a V-mount battery.  You can buy it at Hot Rod Cameras.

Close Focus: Deepfake technology can be useful for noble purposes, as in the recent documentary Welcome to Chechnya. In the doc, people’s identities were obscured using Deepfake AI instead of blurring or shadowing their faces. But Deepfake also continues to be misused for creating false identities and spreading misinformation, as in the case of “Oliver Taylor,” a “student” who attacked an activist couple in a Jewish newspaper. His photo and online profile all appear to be fake. It’s a lot easier to use the tech to create still photos, and Illya argues it may be only a matter of time before all models are replaced by computer generated images.

Illya’s short end: Black Magic has announced the URSA Mini Pro 12k cinema camera. 12K may become the new standard, although Ben & Illya debate about whether this is something the industry even needs, since most viewing technology is still trying to catch up to 4K and so much of what can be seen is limited by your own eyes and your seating distance.

See cinematographer and recent guest John Brawley’s footage shooting with the Black Magic URSA Mini Pro 12K

Ben’s short end: #scriptchat on Twitter, a great forum for interacting and chatting with writers in Q&A sessions on Twitter. Ben and writing partner Bob DeRosa were featured on #scriptchat recently, talking about writing for audio dramas.

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Podcast Credits:

Editor in Chief:  Illya Friedman@hotrodcameras instagram@illyafriedman instagram

Ben Rock:  @neptunesalad twitter@bejamin_rock instagram

Producer: Alana Kode

Editor: Ben Katz

Composer: Kays Alatractchi

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